Man, Sunday’s 16-10 loss to the New York Jets stings so much for the Pittsburgh Steelers. There’s no two ways around that.
Pittsburgh sits at 8-7 and needs a lot to go right on Sunday to get into the playoffs after really missing out on a good opportunity Sunday in New Jersey.
Anyway, let’s move on for now. Against the Jets, Pittsburgh’s defense had a good performance again despite allowing a first-drive touchdown to the Jets. Tackling was mostly up to par, but the turnovers just weren’t there.
Let’s take a look at the missed tackles.
Total missed tackles vs. Jets – 9
Tyson Alualu – 2 (one on sack attempt) (5 total tackles vs. Jets, 28.5 percent miss rate)
Devin Bush – 1 (5 total tackles vs. Jets, 16.6 percent miss rate)
Joe Haden – 1 (2 total tackles vs. Jets, 33.3 percent miss rate)
Cam Heyward – 1 (7 total tackles vs. Jets, 12.5 percent miss rate)
Javon Hargrave – 1 (6 total tackles vs. Jets, 14.2 percent miss rate)
Ola Adeniyi – 1 (0 total tackles vs. Jets, 100 percent miss rate)
Justin Layne – 1 (special teams) (0 total tackles vs. Jets, 100 percent miss rate)
Johnny Holton – 1 (special teams) (0 total tackles vs. Jets, 100 percent miss rate)
Total missed tackles through 16 weeks (15 games) — 121 (8.06 misses per game)
Terrell Edmunds – 14 (98 total tackles, 12.5 percent miss rate)
Devin Bush – 13 (97 total tackles, 11.8 percent miss rate)
Bud Dupree – 10 (three on sack attempts) (65 total tackles, 13.3 percent miss rate)
Mike Hilton – 9 (one on sack attempt) (65 total tackles, 12.1 percent miss rate)
Joe Haden – 9 (62 total tackles, 12.6 percent miss rate)
Mark Barron – 8 (79 total tackles, 9.2 percent miss rate)
TJ Watt – 7 (50 total tackles, 12.3 percent miss rate)
Steven Nelson – 7 (65 total tackles, 9.7 percent miss rate)
Johnny Holton – 6 (all six on special teams) (9 total tackles, 40 percent miss rate)
Javon Hargrave – 6 (two on sack attempts) (55 total tackles, 9.8 percent miss rate)
Artie Burns – 5 (all five on special teams) (7 total tackles, 41.6 percent miss rate)
Vince Williams – 5 (46 total tackles, 9.8 percent miss rate)
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 4 (48 total tackles, 7.7 percent miss rate)
Kameron Kelly – 3 (one on special teams) (17 total tackles, 15 percent miss rate)
Trey Edmunds – 3 (all three on special teams) (0 total tackles, 100 percent miss rate)
Ola Adeniyi – 3 (two on special teams) (8 total tackles, 27.3 percent miss rate)
Cam Heyward – 3 (two on sack attempts) (79 total tackles, 3.6 percent miss rate)
Justin Layne – 3 (all three on special teams) (2 total tackles, 60 percent miss rate)
Tyson Alualu – 3 (22 total tackles, 12 percent miss rate)
Anthony Chickillo – 2 (one on special teams) (15 total tackles, 11.7 percent miss rate)
Tyler Matakevich – 2 (both on special teams) (17 total tackles, 10.5 percent miss rate)
Cameron Sutton – 2 (15 total tackles, 11.7 percent miss rate)
Sean Davis – 1 (5 total tackles, 16.6 percent miss rate)
Rosie Nix – 1 (special teams) (0 total tackles, 100 percent miss rate)
Benny Snell – 1 (special teams) (0 total tackles, 100 percent miss rate)
Jaylen Samuels – 1 (special teams) (0 total tackles, 100 percent miss rate)
Jordan Berry – 1 (special teams) (0 total tackles, 100 percent miss rate)
Jordan Dangerfield – 1 (special teams) (11 total tackles, 9.1 percent miss rate)
Tyson Alualu has played really, really well in place of Stephon Tuitt these last two months or so. Sunday was a tough game for the veteran defensive tackle though, recording two of his three missed tackles on the season.
However, the thing that sticks out for me is the misses from Justin Layne and Johnny Holton – again – on special teams, as well as Cam Heyward shockingly missing a tackle on a play in which he got his hands on the ball carrier.
Let’s dive in.
Early in the game the Steelers’ special teams unit turned in a bad showing, thanks to Holton and Layne.
This is a really good punt from Jordan Berry, but Holton and Layne let it all go to waste with poor technique on Braxton Berrios’ return, leading to a 20-yard gain.
Holton has a tough job here, but he has to work in concert with Layne here in space, funneling the returner towards Layne, or the sideline at the very least. Instead, he looks uncomfortable in space and Layne is late to help, leading to the two misses, setting the Jets up near midfield.
On the same drive, Devin Bush and Joe Haden crack the missed tackles report.
Bush does a great job working to the sideline on this quick throw from Sam Darnold to Jamison Crowder. The real issue I have here is Haden, who usually flies downhill for tackles. Instead, he’s caught flat-footed here and gets juked by Crowder. While he doesn’t attempt a tackle, per say, he’s incompetent here. That’s why I gave him a miss.
Bush comes in out of control trying to clean up the play. It seems to me like he’s going for the highlight hit on Crowder, who might not see him. He’s out of control though and Crowder avoids him, giving the rookie the miss.
When Heyward gets his hands on you this season, more times than not you’re going to the ground. Somehow though, Le’Veon Bell went against the grain on Sunday.
Heyward does a great job working off the block here to get his hands on Bell, but the former Steelers’ running back somehow avoids Heyward’s grasp. Fortunately, Bell runs himself into an 11-yard loss.
Offensively, the Steelers had another great game forcing missed tackles. Against the Jets, Pittsburgh forced 11 missed tackles, meaning they won the battle with a mark of +2.
Total forced missed tackles vs. Jets – 11
James Conner – 3
Diontae Johnson – 2
Devlin Hodges – 1
Mason Rudolph – 1
Nick Vannett – 1
Deon Cain – 1
Jaylen Samuels – 1
Benny Snell – 1
Total forced misses through 16 weeks (15 games) — 117 (7.8 forced misses per game)
James Conner – 30
Diontae Johnson – 22
Benny Snell Jr. – 19
Jaylen Samuels – 12
Kerrith Whyte Jr. – 11
Vance McDonald – 7
Devlin Hodges – 6
Mason Rudolph – 5
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 3
Tony Brooks-James – 2
Ryan Switzer – 2
Nick Vannett – 2
Cameron Sutton – 1
Trey Edmunds – 1
James Washington – 1
Zach Gentry – 1
Deon Cain – 1
James Conner has really struggled to stay healthy, but man, when he’s on the field he’s incredible.
Conner notched another three forced missed tackles on Sunday, giving him 30 on the season. He did that on just six touches against the Jets.
Right away, Conner showed burst, wiggle and power, swiping through Jordan Jenkins here on the edge, setting him off on this 15-yard run. It might not look like much on film, but watch Conner’s right hand and arm. He swipes through Jenkins’ tackle attempt, keeping him clean on the edge, paving his way.
I’d like to see him not take big shots like this at the end of runs though.
Nick Vannett is showing me something these last few weeks, at least as a weapon.
Sure, he had just one catch for 18 yards on Sunday, but watch him with the football in his hands after the catch.
Arthur Maulet found out the hard way just how hard Vannett runs after the catch. That’s what I like to see out of my tight ends.